GaN-based visible light-emitting diodes and laser diodes are already commercialized for a variety of lighting and data storage applications. This materials system is also showing promise for microwave and high power electronics intended for radar, satellite, wireless base stations, and utility grid applications; for biological detection systems; and for a new class of spin-transport electronics (spintronics) in which the spin of charge carriers is exploited.The explosive increase of interest in the AlGaInN family of materials in recent years has been fueled by the application of blue/green/UV light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in full-color displays, traffic lights, automotive lighting, and general room lighting (using so-called white LEDs)1. In addition, blue/green laser diodes can be used in high storage-capacity digital versatile disk (DVD) systems2. AlGaN-based photodetectors are also useful for solar-blind UV detection and have applications as flame sensors for control of gas turbines or detection of missiles.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)00636-3